Evaluation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa staphylolysin (LasA protease) in the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus endophthalmitis in a rat model

Irina S. Barequet, Zohar Habot-Wilner, Oran Mann, Mary Safrin, Dennis E. Ohman, Efrat Kessler, Mordechai Rosner

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Background: Therapy of S. aureus ocular infections is increasingly challenging due to emerging resistant strains. Staphylolysin (also called LasA protease) is a staphylolytic endopeptidase secreted by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of staphylolysin as a therapy for experimental methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) endophthalmitis, focusing on its bactericidal activity. Methods: Endophthalmitis was induced in the right eyes of 46 rats by an intravitreal injection of 50-160 MRSA cells. Two therapeutic regimens were evaluated: (i) an intravitreal injection of staphylolysin at 6 hours post-infection; (ii) two successive intravitreal injections of staphylolysin given at 6 and 30 hours post-infection. Control eyes were injected with vehicle alone at the same times. The rats were sacrificed 48 hours after infection, and the vitreous was withdrawn for determination of colony forming units (CFU). Potential adverse effects of intravitreal staphylolysin injection were assessed histopathologically in four uninfected eyes, enucleated from rats sacrificed 1 month after intravitreal staphylolysin injection. Results: In eyes treated by the single-injection regimen, staphylolysin reduced the mean CFU value per vitreous threefold as compared to control (2,055±3,144 and 6,432±6,389 CFU/vitreous, respectively; P=0.02). The repeated injection protocol was more effective, reducing the mean CFU value per vitreous by two orders of magnitude as compared to control (1,148±3,096 and 143,519±151,358 CFU/vitreous, respectively; P=0.0005). Histopathological analysis showed no structural damage in eyes injected intravitreally with staphylolysin. Conclusions: Staphylolysin is effective in the treatment of experimental MRSA-induced endophthalmitis in rats, and causes no morphological adverse effects to ocular tissues. Staphylolysin may be beneficial in the treatment of S. aureus endophthalmitis in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-917
Number of pages5
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2009


FundersFunder number
Maratier Foundation
Veterans Administration Medical Research Funds
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesR01AI026187
U.S. Public Health Service
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Tel Aviv University


    • Endophthalmitis
    • LasA protease
    • Rat model
    • Staphylococcus aureus
    • Staphylolysin

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